MOH Intensifies Malaria Fight in Endemic Districts

2128 Views Luweero, Uganda

In short
Dr. Myers Lugemwa, the head of Malaria Control Programme in the Health Ministry, says malaria prevalence still remains high in the country, despite the strides made in fighting it, a problem he blames on poor diagnosis and treatment.

The Health Ministry has stepped up efforts with its partners to stem the upsurge of malaria in 43 highly endemic districts. 

The districts include among others Luweero, Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Hoima, Mubende, Kiryandongo, Nebbi, Yumbe, Rakai, Masaka, Lwengo, Kasese, Kyegegwa, Arua and Ntoroko.

The Health Ministry is the process of rolling out a new program dubbed Malaria Action Program for Districts-MAPD. The program will re-orient health workers on malaria diagnosis and control and advocate for increased support for malaria supplies to reduce stockouts in health units.

The Program will also see the distribution of long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets in schools and facilitate the formation of school clubs to help learners acquire knowledge about malaria control.
The program will also build capacity of district health teams to manage malaria among other interventions that seek to reduce child and maternal mortality in the country.
The five year, Malaria Action Program for Districts, is backed by a grant of US$ 41 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UKaid Department for International Development (DFID). 

Dr. Myers Lugemwa, the head of Malaria Control Programme in the Health Ministry, says malaria prevalence still remains high in the country, despite the strides made in fighting it, a problem he blames on poor diagnosis and treatment.

Lugemwa explains that under MAPD, they intend to re-train health workers and revise policies on administering treatment to avoid drug wastage.

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The Annual Health Report from the Health Ministry shows that Uganda records 478 cases of malaria per 1000 people each year, adding that 95% of Ugandans are at risk of contracting the disease if they don't take prevention measures.
Malaria accounts for 27 percent of the deaths in Uganda, making it the leading killer disease. Luweero is among the districts selected to benefit from MAPD. Statistics from the district show that 84,014 out of the 128,900 people who visited health centers in Luweero in the 2015/16 financial year, tested positive for malaria. 

Local leaders have welcomed the implementation of MAPD in the district, saying it will help contain malaria cases. Henry Namakola, the Luweero District Health Educator, says the program is timely since they have been struggling to contain the disease.

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Aisha Kayaga, the Butuntumula Sub County LC V councilor has appreciated the program for integrating youths and gender issues in the fight against the disease. She is hopeful that youths and women leaders will play a key role in disseminating information on malaria hence lead to improved social behavior.

Hussein Katende Kibazzo, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner Luweero, says Malaria has plunged people into further poverty because they spend much of their incomes on treatment.
Katende says they have also resolved to arrest those found misusing mosquito nets to ensure value for money. Currently, Health Ministry officials and coordinators for Malaria Action Program for Districts are meeting district leaders in endemic areas to sign memorandum of understanding before rolling out the program. 

Malaria Action Program for Districts will be housed by Malaria Consortium in Kampala.


About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.